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Aftercare can vary slightly based on the location, size, and healing method of your tattoo, but the following is standard care for any tattoo. For questions or issues not listed below, call us or reach out to your artist directly for specific aftercare issues.

After your session, you'll leave wearing a bandage over your fresh tattoo - it will be a black wound pad, plastic wrap/cellophane, or a transparent medical film.  To ensure your tattoos are properly and thoroughly healed, please read this care info section completely.

Instructions for every tattoo

Do's and Don'ts:

  • Avoid pools, hot tubs, beaches, suntanning, excessive outdoor activities, and water exposure for a minimum of 2 weeks. 

  • DO NOT PICK, SCRATCH, OR PEEL your new tattoo during the healing process. If a scab forms DO NOT try to pull it off; allow it to fall off naturally.

  • DO NOT ITCH your tattoo. If your tattoo feels itchy, wash it gently with antibacterial soap and reapply a thin amount of lotion to soothe it. 

  • DO NOT TOUCH your tattoo with dirty hands. Do not allow anyone else to touch your tattoo.

  • Wear clean, loose clothing around the tattooed area to limit friction. 

  • DO NOT keep your tattoo covered in cellophane/cling wrap. Cellophane will hold in moisture, making your skin over-hydrated which pushes out the ink, and will create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Healing with Traditional Aftercare

  1. Remove the cellophane wrap or black padded bandage after 1-4 hours at home.

  2. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap.

  3. Wash your tattoo gently with warm water and fragrance-free antibacterial soap 3 times daily for 2-4 weeks (see LIST for soap recommendations). Wash with your hands only. Do not use a scrub brush, washcloth, or anything abrasive. Do not use bar soap.

  4. Pat dry with a paper towel and let air dry for 5-10 minutes - be cautious not to touch or rub anything against your tattoo during this period.

  5. Gently apply a thin layer of an antibacterial ointment (see LIST) twice daily for 3 days. Over-application will suffocate and clog your tattoo. 

  6. After the third day, switch from the ointment to a small amount of fragrance-free, light daily lotion (see LIST). Continue to gently wash with antibacterial soap and air dry at least three times daily for a minimum of two weeks, and until the tattoo feels smooth.

  7. Continue to lotion forever, and wear your sunscreen. 

Healing with Transparent Medical Film

The transparent medical film dressing (NexCare, SaniDerm, TegaDerm, DermShield, Recovery Derm, etc.) is a breathable, flexible barrier film designed to be worn for multiple days. The film bandage will lock in your body's natural healing fluids and enzymes, creating a bubble of liquid under the film keeping your new tattoo hydrated and aiding the healing process. Your tattoo may not be visible due to the inky, blotchy fluid underneath the film. This is normal.

The clear medical film your artist applied should remain on for 24 hours minimum and up to 3-5 days depending on your design.  Your artist will provide instruction for a specific amount of time.  The film is water resistant, not waterproof. You may shower with it on being careful to only hand-wash around the film area to avoid small tears or disturbing the sealed edges.

Removing the barrier film: Pull a corner of the film and gently, slowly peel in the direction of hair growth, stretching the film parallel to the skin. We strongly recommend removing the film while in the shower: the warm water will help loosen the adhesive making it more comfortable to take off, and the residual plasma and ink bubble will be easier to clean. Gently wash your tattoo with fragrance-free liquid antibacterial soap (see LIST) using only your hands. Wash with your hands only. Do not use a scrub brush, washcloth, or anything abrasive. Do not use bar soap

Reapply a new medical film: If a second film is required, wash and then pat dry with a clean paper towel. With clean hands, reapply a new film - the bandage should cover your tattoo and have a one-inch border around it which will help prevent leaking. The new film should remain on for 3-5 days unless otherwise specified by your artist.


After removing the last round of film, switch to a small amount of high-quality fragrance-free lotion (see LIST) for two weeks minimum. Each time you apply lotion, your tattoo should first be gently washed with antibacterial soap, and air-dried or gently pat-dried.


Do's and Don'ts Specific to Medical Film:

  • Your clear film dressing does not protect you from the sun. Avoid direct sunlight.

  • If your film is removed prematurely, follow traditional aftercare instructions.

  • Avoid activities that would make you sweat excessively, which can affect the medical film's tackiness. Please speak to your artist for additional instruction on how frequently to change the film if this is unavoidable. 

  • Due to the fluid build-up underneath the film, a 'bubble' may form that looks inky or blotchy - this is normal and healthy for your tattoo. However, if ink or fluid is leaking out from the side of the film, the seal has been compromised and the film should be removed; apply a new patch, or you may continue the healing regimen with traditional aftercare instructions. 

TL;DR - Most Amount of Clean, Least Amount of Friction

The List

The following products and items are tested, tried, and true when used with proper application.


Fragrance Free Antibacterial/Antiseptic/Antimicrobial Liquid Soaps as follows:

  • Dial Gold (Benzalkonium Chloride)

  • Cosco Tincture of Green Soap (aka Liniment of Soft Soap)

  • Generic brand soap containing Chlorhexidine Gluconate

High-quality Fragrance-free Light Lotion such as:

  • Lubriderm Daily Moisture Normal to Dry Skin

  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing

  • Eucerin Daily Hydration

  • 100% Pure Cocoa Butter (melt in palm to apply)

  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

  • Cerave Daily Moisturizing 

  • Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion (not the cream formula)

  • Tattoo lotions/balms provided by your artist

Ointment for Traditional Healing Routine

  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment

  • Cerave Healing Ointment

  • Ointment provided by your artist

Do not use your friend's regimen or recommendations for healing your tattoo. You can risk damaging your tattoo or causing an infection if alternative methods are used; our cover-up specialists have seen the unfortunate results of the well-meaning friend. Our instructions are tried & true, but if you have a personal healing regimen that differs from the instructions above and has worked for your skin in the past, please discuss it with your artist. Some areas may require special care instructions or extra TLC.

We guarantee our work and provide a free touch-up within one year of the original tattoo assuming the tattoo was cared for properly. Certain exceptions apply to touch-ups, including but not limited to: palms, hands, fingers, feet, white tattoos, etc. 

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